Church of the Jesuits

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Church of the Circumcision of the Lord
Knisja taċ-Ċirkonċiżjoni tal-Mulej
Church of the Circumcision of the Lord is located in Malta
Church of the Circumcision of the Lord
Church of the Circumcision of the Lord
35°53′54.7″N 14°30′54.4″E / 35.898528°N 14.515111°E / 35.898528; 14.515111
Location Valletta
Country Malta
Denomination Roman Catholic
History
Founded 1593
Dedication Circumcision of Jesus
Architecture
Status Active
Functional status Church
Architect(s) Francesco Bonamici
Architectural type Church
Style Baroque
Administration
Archdiocese Malta
Clergy
Archbishop Paul Cremona
Rector Philip Calleja

The Jesuits' church (in Maltese Knisja tal-Ġiżwiti) is one of the oldest churches in Valletta, Malta, and one of the largest in the diocese. The site, comprising a college and a church is bounded by four streets occupying the whole area. St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus in 1534, had considered founding a college in Malta as early as 1553. Through a letter dated 28 March 1592, Pope Clement VIII solicited the setting up of a Jesuit College. It was to be primarily ecclesiastic and not scientific, mainly to prepare candidates to the priesthood. Grandmaster Martin Garzez laid the Foundation Stone of the College on 4 September 1595. The College become known as Collegium Melitense. The Jesuits initiated courses in the field of higher educational studies.

Jesuit saint on the façade of the Jesuits' church

On 12 September 1634, an explosion caused serious damage to both church and college. The church had to be re-built. Thus the present church was built according to the plan and design of the Order's resident military architect and engineer Francesco Buonamici from Lucca; it was the first work on the island of Malta to be designed by an architect of international repute. The façade bears features of the Baroque style, while the interior is influenced by Doric architecture. Its plan followed the Gesù in Rome, with four-bay nave and seven side chaples; the eighth, Onorati Congregation Chapel, opening from the nave leading to a door onto Archbishop Street.

The Jesuits lectured until their expulsion from Malta by Grandmaster Manuel Pinto da Fonseca in 1768. The Collegium Melitense then become the University of Malta (the old one that was in Valletta).

References[edit]

  • Churches in Valletta; brochure, published by Malta Tourism Authority.

Coordinates: 35°53′58.5″N 14°30′59.9″E / 35.899583°N 14.516639°E / 35.899583; 14.516639